The bow hemp bloom is a rare occurrence. But when does bow hemp (Sansevieria) actually bloom and under what conditions? You can find out here.
When indoor plants bloom and thus reward our green fingers, that’s a highlight for us house gardeners. But did you know that the bow hemp (Sansevieria) also bears flowers? This applies to the different species – from the popular Sansevieria trifasciata to the cylindrical bow hemp (Sansevieria cylindrica).
The fact that the succulent plant pushes a flower stalk out between its strong leaves is a rather rare occurrence. On the one hand, this may be since the bow hemp bears the stamp of the frugal plant: Thanks to its robust nature, it leaves green many unpleasant corners in living rooms and offices without even receiving the ideal care. On the other hand, it is only the older specimens of this tropical plant that occasionally adorn themselves with a flower.
Bow hemp blossom: useful information in brief
Bow hemp is a popular houseplant because of its leaves. However, it rarely blooms and when it does, it is older specimens. The small flowers appear in spring and are white, greenish, or pink in color. They open in the evening / at night and have a sweet smell. Fruits only develop after pollination by nocturnal moths. The plants do not die from flowering – just enjoy the event!
What does the flower of the bow hemp look like?
The bow hemp usually blooms in spring and then delights with small white flowers. Depending on the type and variety, they are also tinged with green or pink. They stand together in long clusters or panicle-like on a shoot that usually does not quite reach the height of the evergreen leaves.
The individual flowers of the houseplant are only about two centimeters in size, and when they have opened they look almost like narrow mini lily flowers: The six petals bend back so that the long stamens protrude straight.
What is special besides their rarity: The bow hemp flowers open in the evening or at night, beguile with a sweet smell, and produce sticky nectar. They actually want to attract nocturnal moths to pollinate. When this happens, the plant develops berry-like, red-orange fruits.
By the way: You can just enjoy the rare performance. Although the shoot only flowers once, the Sansevieria species – in contrast to some other succulents – do not die after flowering. But keep in mind that all parts of the houseplants are slightly poisonous, not only affecting the leaves, but also the flowers.
Maintaining Sansevieria: can you increase the chance of flowering?
With a place in the ideal location, optimal care, and a lot of patience, the probability can be increased that the bow hemp will give us a flower at some point. The houseplants originally come from tropical regions in Africa and Asia. Accordingly, they prefer a bright to a sunny place in our four walls that is best constantly warm.
They don’t like drafty corners. Although the plants can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures in winter, the thermometer should not drop below 15 degrees Celsius even then. The cooler your Sansevieria is, the less you should water the plants.
In general, it is important to use water sparingly: Water moderately during the growth phase and let the soil dry off again and again before reaching for the watering can again. The plants particularly like water with the low calcium content.
If you mix in some liquid fertilizer about once a month between March and October, the houseplant is satisfied. Keep the Sansevieria in a well-drained, mineral substrate, for example in special soil for succulents and cacti. Do not start repotting the bow hemp until the planter has become too small.
After flowering: can bow hemp be propagated by seeds?
Although you rarely get to enjoy the bow hemp flower, it is worthwhile to raise offspring from the houseplant. It’s very easy and you can always find a place for the succulents with the decorative leaves that still need to be greened.
One thing is clear: to multiply the bow hemp, one should not wait for the fruits after flowering to be able to harvest seeds. If the gardener does not help himself with the brush, it is extremely unlikely that the flowers will be pollinated and fruit will form.
It is much faster if you propagate the plants by leaf cuttings (only green species and varieties) or obtain cuttings by dividing the plant. Spring is a good time to prune cuttings, as well as when you need to repot the bow hemp. A light and warm location is important for the plants to develop. With the right care, you can soon look forward to a whole Sansevieria family. And who knows, with a little patience – and luck – one or the other bow hemp can even produce a flower.
Kornelia Friedenauer is the managing editor responsible for the magazine "GARDEN PLANT". She holds a degree in landscape architecture and completed a traineeship at a trade journal after graduating. She has been an editor on the Crown-Times team since August 2020. Her main topics are ornamental gardens, design, and DIY. In her private life, too, she is a gardener with heart and soul and tries out many new horticultural and creative ideas in her own garden.